Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

Sunshine-sweet lemon blueberry layer cake dotted with juicy berries and topped with lush cream cheese frosting. One of the most popular cake recipes on this website!

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!

What on earth is a lusciously fruit-filled recipe like this doing on my kitchen table in February? I love the snow, but someone pass me a fork. I’m diving headfirst into this sunshine-sweet, springtime layer cake and not coming out until it’s April.

How to Make Lemon Blueberry Cake

  • Fresh lemons. Use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest in the cake batter. None of that lemon extract stuff! How to choose lemons at the store? Make sure the lemons you choose are smooth-skinned and heavy for their size. That way you know they are extra juicy.
  • Buttermilk. Known for providing exceptional moisture to baked goods, buttermilk leaves each bite tender and lush. See my recipe note about a DIY sour milk substitution.
  • Brown sugar & 4 eggs: I’ve found that lemon cakes can easily be dry and gritty, so add some moist-making ingredients like brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk. Buttermilk, a little brown sugar, and 4 eggs assure the final product is as moist as it could possibly be without being wet.
  • Fresh or frozen blueberries: Fresh or frozen blueberries are OK. If using frozen, do not thaw.

I love this lemon blueberry cake because the blueberries DO NOT sink to the bottom of the cake. Why not? The batter is thick. When you have a thin batter, heavy fruit or add-ins will sink to the bottom. I also recommend tossing the blueberries in a little flour too– this is extra insurance they don’t sink!

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!_-8

Sally's Baking Addiction | Delicious Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake!

Sally's Baking Addiction | Delicious Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake!

Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake is moist and soft, somewhere between a vanilla layer cake and pound cake. Silky cream cheese frosting is the perfect finishing touch– it literally tastes like spreadable cheesecake. The cream cheese frosting goes onto the cake so easily, so it’s a really simple cake to decorate. Doesn’t need to be neat– its haphazardness adds to its charm, don’t you think?

Decorate with blueberries, lemon zest, lemon slices, whatever you like!

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!

More Lemon Recipes For You

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Lemon blueberry cake

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 21 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: serves 10-12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Sunshine-sweet lemon layer cake dotted with juicy blueberries and topped with lush cream cheese frosting. You can use either fresh or frozen blueberries in this cake. If using frozen, no need to thaw.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (345g) sifted all-purpose flour, (spoon & leveled)*
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk*
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest*
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (3 medium lemons)*
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh (258g) or frozen (do not thaw– 275g)
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease three 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans.
  2. Make the cake: Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy – about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is completely combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then beat in the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice *just* until combined. Toss the blueberries with 1 Tablespoon of flour and gently fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick. Do not over-mix. Over-mixing will lead to a tough, dense textured crumb.
  4. Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Make the frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.
  6. Assemble and frost: First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. The recipe doesn’t make a ton of frosting, just enough for a light frost. Top with blueberries or lemon garnish if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting or else the cake may fall apart as you cut.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cakes and frosting 1 day in advance. Keep cakes at room temperature, covered tightly. Refrigerate prepared frosting in an airtight container until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cakes may be frozen up to 2 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature if desired before serving.
  2. Sheet Cake: The batter makes a perfect sheet cake! Simply spread into a 12×17 inch half sheet/jelly roll pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. It also fits nicely into a 9×13 inch cake pan. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Cupcakes: Here is my lemon cupcakes recipe. You can add 1 cup of blueberries to the batter and top with cream cheese frosting.
  4. Eggs: Room temperature eggs are recommended because they mix easily and quickly into the cake batter, reducing the risk of over-mixing (and an overly dense cake!). Place eggs into a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes before using or set the eggs out when you set out your cream cheese/butter for the recipe.
  5. Flour: Be very careful not to overmeasure your flour. This will result in a heavy cake. For a lighter crumb, you can use 3 + 1/4 cups (about 325g) sifted cake flour instead.
  6. Buttermilk: Buttermilk creates a supremely moist lemon cake. If you do not have buttermilk, make a DIY sour milk. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Fill the rest with whole milk to yield 1 cup. Give it a stir, then let it sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
  7. Lemons: You’ll need about 2 Tablespoons of lemon zest and 1/2 cup lemon juice.
  8. Cream Cheese: Use brick-style cream cheese. Not cream cheese spread.
  9. Cream: Heavy cream with 30% or more milk fat preferred in frosting for the most delicious and creamiest texture. Milk works in a pinch!

Keywords: lemon blueberry cake, lemon cake, cake, lemon

Here’s my recipe for lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting – a reader favorite!

Lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!

822 Comments

  1. Are you supposed to cool these cakes in the pans or take them out a few minutes after removing from the oven?

    1. Mine took about 35 minutes (with a gas oven). I knew it was ready by the bounce of the cake (spongy) . Even though the toothpick came out clean, it did need a bit longer. So go by the feel of the cake.

  2. I made this cake on Friday; it was a huge success and garnered rave reviews. My only modification was to add a lot more blueberries; I think I could have probably used even more. Thanks for the delicious recipe.

  3. I’d love to see this recipe re-proportioned with your six inch cake post! (I know you mentioned you can go from cupcakes to a 6-inch cake, and you provide a lemon cupcake recipe, but I’m afraid going from cake to cupcake to smaller cake might mess it up. Any suggestions?) Thank you!!

    1. I made the cake and frosting one day ahead of time. I brought frosting to room temp and kept cake cool before frosting. It turned out amazing! I will definitely be making this again. I had left over lemon juice and zest that I added to the frosting to give it an extra lemony zip! I was afraid the frosting might curdle, so I added the lemon to the buttermilk first and it was fine. Sooooo delicious!

  4. Hi sally!

    This recipe looks amazing! I’m making this for my friends birthday and want to decorate the outside differently. Ideally I would use colored buttercream for the look I’m going for, but do you think it would be too sweet or clash with the flavors of the cake? Thanks in advance!

    Lynn

    1. If you want to amp up the lemon flavor I have a lemon buttercream frosting that is wonderful and you can color and decorate with! https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/lemon-buttercream-frosting/.
      Vanilla buttercream would be just as good also!

  5. Made this for the first time for my daughter’s birthday. Turned out great! Used my mom’s recipe for the cream cheese frosting which is essentially the same other than you only use half the cream cheese and 6 tbsp. Butter and 3 cups powdered sugar. Thank you!

  6. Made this for a friend’s dinner and it turned out delicious!!! Yum! Can’t wait to make it again before summers end!

  7. Made this, but haven’t tasted it yet. Looks promising so far though! My question is about the cake pans. You mention to use three 9-inch pans. I made this full recipe using only two 9-inch pans and even then the cakes came out relatively thin, each less than two inches thick. How thick do you expect each layer to be when you use three pans? Because had I used three each layer would have been less than an inch thick!

    1. Hi Kelly, it’s very possible that it was simply too much batter in each pan so they were not able to rise enough. When you taste it, if the cake is very dense instead of light and fluffy that could be the problem!

  8. Sally. You are asking me to use a TABLESPOON OF VANILLA EXTRACT. This is a lemon cake!!! This isn’t even a vanilla cake! I like your recipes but I simply can’t sell a kidney to support my hobby. i’ve run through one bottle already and I’ve only baked like 3 or 4 things. Why so much vanilla???

  9. I’ve made this cake two years in a row for a group potluck and everyone always loves it! It’s very soft and tender and so delicious.
    Of course I’m making it again this year, I have to! 😉

    Can I make it TWO days in advance? Bake the cake on Friday, frost it Saturday evening, and eat it Sunday? If I keep the cake in the fridge maybe?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Hannah! The fresher, the better the texture and flavor. Keeping that in mind, you can make it on Friday and serve on Sunday. Bring to room temperature before serving.

  10. We have a staff meeting once a month and I always bake a cake to celebrate birthdays. I made this for today’s meeting and everyone loved it. People were telling those who normally do not partake in the sweets to not miss out on this cake.

  11. I love this recipe and have been making it for years and always receive rave reviews! For ease of transport I made it tonight in a 9×13. My batter seemed thin tonight and definitely wasn’t thick. Any ideas why? I weighed all of my dry ingredients rather than measuring which isn’t different than usual. The cake also doesn’t seem very thick in the pan. Again, any ideas why?

  12. The best recipe ever !!!! I love it ! The taste is so rich ! Change it with strawberry instead of blueberry.. my first trial ! Love it ❤️ Thank you

  13. Hi Sally!
    Love your recipes! I have a question about this cake… I want to make this for my dad’s 90th birthday party but he has potassium restrictions. What can I substitute for the baking powder without losing the texture? I’m also substituting Erythritol for the sugar because he has diabetes. Thanks for your advice!

    1. Hi Sarah! I’m really unsure. Is baking soda doable? You’d need a considerable amount less if using baking soda instead of powder. When combined with Erythritol, this would require some testing. It’s not a 1:1 switch. Sorry I can’t be more help here!

  14. Love your recipes Sally! Never have a problem until this one 🙁 the layers came out SUPER thin. I was careful to follow the recipe as usual but must have done something wrong. What would have caused that??

      1. Thanks for responding! It was super dense! Still tasted great but just wasn’t right. Expired powder never even crossed my mind! Could that be cause for the density too??

  15. Hi! I love all your recipe.
    Do you think I could do this lemon and blueberry cake Without cream or frosting? If I do just a 2 inches high cake? Is it moist enough?
    Thank you for your answer!

  16. Hi Sally! I want to make this cake for the 1st birthday of my baby in heaven. Do you think I can use this frosting to create a smooth edge on the cake and then for piping flowers? I guess I could just use buttercream but we like the flavor of cream cheese frosting so much better. Thank you in advance for your advice!

    1. Hi Lizzy, this frosting will be able to be smooth on the edges of the cake, but might not pipe as well for intricate flowers. You can always add a bit more powered sugar to the remaining frosting after covering the outside, before filling your piping bag to thicken it up. I also usually place my filled piping bag in the refrigerator for a bit before piping with cream cheese frosting to help it firm up!

  17. Hi Sally,

    Love this cake!!it always turns out beautifully but I was wondering can I switch out blueberries for another berry? Raspberry?

    Thanks !!

  18. Best cake we’ve ever made and Sally we’ve been making it since you posted it several years ago. Finally got around to tell you how much I love it. It’s my daughter’s favorite and she asks for it every year for her birthday.Thank you for sharing this one and we love your lemon cupcakes too!

  19. I made the Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake and it was delicious! This is one I will be making again. Thanks for sharing!!

    Some have ask calories 🙂

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